3M Products Linked To Forest Destruction Around World

Environmental WatchDog Exposes 3M’s Environmentally Destructive Practices
Thursday Apr 24, 2014

Press Contact: Jim Ace, 2014 510-290-2448, jimace@forestethics.org

Minneapolis - Today, leading environmental watchdog, ForestEthics, released a detailed exposé & series of infographics exposing 3M Company’s (NYSE:MMM) environmental destruction worldwide.  3M does not provide chain-of-custody sourcing information for any of its products. In order to discover the truth behind 3M’s practices, ForestEthics invested hundreds of hours researching the sourcing of some of 3M’s most ubiquitous products.

From Post-it Notes to sponges to masking tape, 3M is linked to deforestation around the world, including in the United States, Canada, Russia and the Baltic States, Scandinavia, Brazil, and Indonesia.

“3M's approach to forestry is irresponsible, extremely destructive, and completely out of line with what today’s consumers expect,” said Jim Ace of ForestEthics. “Post-it notes with no recycled content, sandpaper that comes from endangered caribou habitat, and sponges that are linked to human rights violations have no place on the shelves of the 21st century. 3M has put its brand at risk by sourcing paper from controversial sources."

Among the findings:

  • U.S.-made Post-it Notes come from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Pacific Northwest, where forests are clearcut in swaths the size of 90 football fields and sprayed with toxic chemicals, poisoning communities and fresh water. Much of this logging is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), which is financed and governed by the logging industry itself.
  • 3M’s production of European-made Post-it Notes destroys forests in Scandinavia and eastern Europe.
  • 3M masking tape and sandpaper come from the Boreal forest in Ontario, Canada, critical for clean water, fresh air, and climate regulation, and home to the woodland caribou, which are on the verge of extinction due to logging.
  • Scotch-Brite sponges are linked to deforestation and human rights violations in Brazil and Indonesia. The Brazil mill used by 3M is owned by the same company responsible for destroying rainforests in Indonesia, where orangutans are struggling to survive.
  • Another concerning issues raised in ForestEthics’ assessment of 3M’s environmental practices is the company’s commitment to a misleading eco-label called the ‘Sustainable Forestry Initiative’, or SFI, which is governed and financed by some of the biggest names in the logging industry. Promoting the SFI label is particularly harmful to forests because the SFI falsely lures eco-minded consumers into believing that they’re purchasing something that aligns with their values.

“Strong sourcing policies from companies like Kimberly Clark and Mattel prove there’s no need to buy pulp and paper from forest destroyers," said Dr. Amy Moas, Greenpeace Senior Forest Campaigner. “3M's irresponsible choices not only threaten some of the world’s most precious forests, but also risk the company's reputation and integrity.”

Click here for more information on ForestEthics’ campaign challenging 3M to improve its environmental practices and drop the use of the misleading SFI label.


ForestEthics protects forests and wild places so that the people and wildlife that depend on them can thrive. We achieve this by challenging and motivating corporations and governments, creating breakthrough solutions, partnering with indigenous peoples, and inspiring citizen action.

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